Heilbronn 2002

Races/Events Article ...by Marc Weijenberg and Jerome Pasman



A look at the European Powerboating event...






Heilbronn is a mid-sized town in the South of Germany, about 400 km from the Netherlands. Over the past years, the local power boating club, Powerboat Team Rhein Neckar, have taken upon themselves to organize a meeting for RC power boaters of all shapes, sizes and nationalities. Through the years the crowd grew and grew. Now Heilbronn is one of the biggest RC powerboat meetings in Europe. RC boaters from Germany, Italy, Austria, France, and even from Russia, Poland and now Holland have attended!


Paul Wijnstra and Edwin Mulkens, creators of our Forum and very enthusiastic boaters, have traveled to Heilbronn the last two years. After reading the reports and hearing their stories, we needed little persuasion to go and visit the meeting in Heilbronn ourselves. So we got together through e-mail and the forum, and got things going.


What to take with you? A tent, spares, tools, food, etc, etc. Oh, and pills for the hangover next morning. Boy, I tell you that German beer is heavyImage! After putting all the stuff in the car, we left for Heilbronn at 5 am, had a good journey and arrived at noon. Some other boaters from our club, Peet (PowerPeet), Paul Swaelen, Ruben, and John were already there, checking out the site.


Of course we did not look at the map and we got lost. Luckily, Peet was there to help out and he talked us in through the cellphone. It was hot, 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) and more. We decided to make camp first. You know that the best of marriages go belly up, just because you could not get your tent up. Luckily Jerome and I are not married so our little Hilton hotel was up quite quickly. After that we took a look at the water. A 100 meter (about 300 feet) walk from the campsite. Just over a dike, we saw the river Neckar. Smooth as a babies behind and nicely protected by buildings and a lock. Furthermore a nice dock from where we could launch our boats and control them.


ImageSoon, it was time to get the boats out and burn some fuel. We checked the frequencies with the boaters already running, and woke up the engines.


As this town is 150-160 meters (about 500 feet) higher altitude than where we normally go boating, we expected to make some adjustments to the carb settings. Turned out not to be a real problem. Day two and three showed us otherwise. After running a couple of laps, we saw and heard that the local boaters were impressed with the handling and speed of our boats. Even some of the local distributors started asking questions. That made us feel good, without boasting.


Then, just before Peet launched his awesome 78" Apache with twin 35 cc engines, the local sightseeing canal barge docked, making some big waves! Peet's Apache jumped the wakes like there was no tomorrow; very impressive indeed!

Later that afternoon and evening, more and more arrived. We hoisted our flag, and our own bright red XTreme RC banner.



We had some nice boating until 9 o'clock in the evening. It got late and after a few beers, a nice dinner at the local stand, and a long journey, we went to sleep very fast. We were anxious about the next day, when all would start early.


The next morning on Saturday, the boating did start early. We woke up to the sound of screaming nitro engines. Running in different classes, the bigger gas boats were running in mono-, cat-, and bigboat-class. Jerome had a great run, passing boats on pure speed and handling through the corners. Second run; more boats, more public, more adrenaline going. Careful not to damage any boats, he maneuvered carefully around the course. Now so much water was stirred up, he flipped his cat after ten rounds.


Third run; after overtaking all the mono's, Jerome, together with Juul (Rhomodel) and another red Sprintcat, were the fastest on the water. Running Imagedown the straight, Jerome had to suddenly decide in a split second to either collide with a dead boat or to do a 90 degree turn at full throttle. Lucky for him, he correctly decided to do the 90 degree turn. Unfortunately that also meant he rolled his cat about 5 times! Water in the radio box meant no more cat boating for Jerome for that day. From time to time, it was quite hectic on the water, and Jerome decided wisely to keep his new mono dry.


As my cat was put into the 25/35/50cc class, together with the big 35cc Mathe and 50cc Pollini engines, it was not easy to keep the boat on the water (waves and wind). After adjusting the strut and putting on the smallest prop I had, it handled very well. Not used to the local pond and public, every time I took the boat in for a breather, I found my knees shaking. Surprisingly, as the weather was different than Friday, a lot of boaters (including myself) found it difficult to find the right carb settings.


The others of our group, driving nitro, electric and gas, all had a nice day of spectacular boating. The catamarans of Paul Swaelen (PBB racing), JuulImage (Rhomodel) and John (Mean Green Machine) showed they handled great and have very good speed potential. Where the local boaters go for looks and hardware (which they do very nicely indeed), we go for speed and handling. So our set-ups were quite different than the local boaters.


The trend looks like less nitro, more gas engines and bigger boats, although a lot of the twin engine boats have nitro converted Zenoah's in them, since they are easy to convert for counter rotating props. The boats get bigger too, not only the cats but also the deep vee's/mono's. Sizes up to 78" and more - scaled down versions of existing Imagefull-sized powerboats. The show stopper was a true 91" scaled down version of the Victory 4 offshore class cat. Molded in carbon, it took about two years to complete the hull (including the molds). Not a single detail was missed.


Fitted with two 30cc twin cylinder engines, it was a shame it did not run. Her owner, Curt Conrad, still had some problems with the cooling system.




Sunday morning started off with rain, but the weather cleared up later that day. Looking at the gas classes, especially the mono's, it turned out to be a "graveyard pond"; within 5 minutes about 6 or 7 boats were flipped and lying dead in the water. Jerome did not risk his new mono and he had some water damage done to the electronics from the other day, so he took time off to talk to fellow boaters, browsing the local stands, and looking at the boating going on. Very wise decision, as I did not get to see everything I wanted to. I took my cat out two times. It stalled several times so I did some carb adjustments again. After some good advice by Paul (and he is always right), it ran great and I found myself alone on the water. Doing almost full speed turns and some fast SAW running, when I stopped I got applause from the crowd! With shaking hands, I unhooked my transmitter antenna to get the channel-card off!


Since the weather cleared, and dried off our little Hilton hotel, it was time to break up our camp. So at about 3.30 PM we got in the car and droveImage home. Excited about the last 3 days, we had one thought…

Heilbronn, we will be back next year!

Jerome Pasman (Speakerboy) & Marc Weijenberg (Devalkmp2)

Photographs courtesy of Andre Abtmeyer (www.andrenalin.de)










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